CWWA Comments: Guidance for Issuing and Rescinding Boil Water Advisories

CWWA’s Drinking Water Quality Committee recently reviewed the Guidance for Issuing and Rescinding Boil Water Advisories issued by Health Canada and the Federal/Provincial Territorial (FPT) Committee on Drinking Water.

The Association supports and appreciates Health Canada and the FPT Committee’s ongoing commitment to developing these and similar guidelines; we find not only the advice offered to be useful, but the supporting documentation and background information to be interesting and informative.

Our Committee did note that these guidelines were more relevant to smaller systems, but given the higher prevalence of advisories in these systems, this seems appropriate.

We also noted that there is ongoing confusion in the industry about who is responsible for issuing a boil water advisory, the purveyor or the regulator. This document simply refers to the "responsible authority," which does not help alleviate the uncertainty. Clear guidance on who is responsible for both issuing and rescinding an order would be invaluable to the sector.

Finally, we suggested that the document could be expanded to include guidance on rebuilding public confidence following a boil water advisory. This remains a challenge for municipalities, and advice on this and broader customer service and communications issues would be invaluable as part of this document or as a stand-alone piece.

We also submitted editorial comments and improvements to the text. The complete comments are posted to the CWWA website.

Canadian Water and Wastewater Association